For a second consecutive year, no leader in Africa has been deemed worthy of the $5 million Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership. The foundation’s prize committee announced Monday that it had decided not to award the prize — the fourth time there has been no winner in its seven-year history.
Winners must be democratically-elected leaders who have stepped down in the past three years after serving their constitutionally mandated term, and have demonstrated “excellence in office.” The committee’s failure to again find a prize winner has led some to comment that its selection criteria are too narrow, and should be broadened to include those showing leadership in civil society.
But Ibrahim, a Sudanese-born telecommunications businessman and billionaire, who created the foundation in 2006, defended the prize. “Most African countries are new states — some of the states did not exist 70 years, 50 years ago,” he said, adding, “In established democracies there are some kinds of checks and balances, but at the early stages in a state’s formation the power of the president is huge … And we need really to point the finger at where the responsibility lies.